October 26, 2011

Breaking Out Of The Cage Of Consumerism

A life spent behind barcodes is no life at all
Global revolution has been fomenting for decades, but things have reached a boiling point recently. This is because we can finally see that governments and big business haven't got anything other than increasing their power and profit. We see that they are willing to sacrifice us, our freedoms, and the environment in their quest. We can see that we will have to save ourselves.

We may not have formal dictatorships in the West, although power does rest in the hands of a relatively small group of people. Often it is obtained by force or by inheritance. Globalism has spread this small group's greed around the world. Power and profits have never been better.

Regular folks have long felt impotent when up against such powerful forces, but no longer.

Enter Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26 year old Egyptian citizen. She is being praised for her part in the Egyptian revolution that ended Mubarek's decades long dictatorship. Before the revolution began to gain momentum, Mahfouz bravely recorded a video and posted it to the net. It was an invitation to the people, and a direct threat to one of the richest men in the world.

When I read the transcripts I was fascinated at how appropriate her plea was for any people experiencing oppression. She offered a solution to the suffering, and more importantly, she offered the hope that our participation would make a difference.

It doesn't matter if your oppression comes from a dictator, income inequality, a bank, or relentless, hollow, consumerism. We yearn to be free just the same. That is why Mahfouz recently made an appearance at the Occupy Together site in New York, and offered her support.

Oppression is oppression.

Quotes from Asmaa Mahfouz's video that helped topple the rich and powerful: 

"We want our human rights and nothing else."

"This entire government is corrupt."

"Whoever says it is not worth it because there will be only a handful of people, I want to tell him you are the reason behind this. And you are like a traitor, just like the President or any security cop who beats us in the streets. Your presence with us will make a difference, a big difference."

"Talk to your neighbours, your colleagues, friends and family and tell them to come. Just go down anywhere and say it - that we are free human beings."

"Sitting at home and just following us on news or Facebook leads to our humiliation, my own humiliation."

"If you don't do anything, then you deserve all that's being done to you.
And you will be guilty, before your nation and your people. And you'll be responsible for what happens to us on the street while you sit at home."

"Make people aware. You know your own social circle, your building, your family, your friends... tell them to come with us."

"Talk to people and tell them, this is enough."

"Let us do something positive. It will make a difference, a big difference. Never say there's no hope."

"Hope disappears only when you say there's no hope. So long as you join us, there will be hope."

"Don't think you can be safe anymore. None of us are. Come down with us and demand your rights, my rights, your family's rights."

"Say 'No' to corruption!"


We can put a stop to the economic dictators, and discover a better life than the empty, destructive one offered by consumerism. We can quit supporting the very tyranny which oppresses us by refusing to be lured in by unnecessary stuff, and choosing to live a better life with less.

To me, that is what small footprint, sustainable living is all about. It is the vehicle for individual participation that will empower us all to build a better world for everyone.

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